This festival features enormous chochin (paper lanterns), also known as “amazingly gigantic lanterns,” which measure over 5 meters in diameter and 10 meters in length. The 12 sets of paper lanterns appearing at the festival are depicted with pictures and Chinese characters which embody all kinds of meanings and stories. The scene of the Dai-Chochin Tsuriage when the huge brightly-colored paper lanterns are hoisted up very slowly is just breathtaking.
The festival originates in a legend dating back about 450 years. At that time, a fire usually ignited to illuminate the surroundings for patrolling was lit at Suwa Shrine in order to drive away sea demons which emerged from the sea, ravaging the fields and bringing serious harm upon the inhabitants. Ever since then, it became the custom to ignite kagari-bi as a Shinto ritual at the festival. These kagari-bi were later replaced by chochin lanterns and competition to produce the biggest and most gorgeous lanterns has resulted in their present form.
The most exciting scene of the festival is when gigantic 1-meter tall candles are lit inside the enormous chochin lanterns. As soon as the candles are lit, the colorful motifs of famous Japanese myths, etc. depicted on the chochin lanterns appear, creating a world of fantasy. This is truly a moment of Japanese myths and old folktales being passed down through the generations. Spectators also experience a pleasant sense of excitement as if witnessing a historic scene.
Place: Suwa Shrine
Dates: August 26th and 27th
Dates and functions are subjects to change without notice. Be sure to check the latest information in advance.
City: 129 Isshiki Aza Miyazoe, Isshiki-cho Oaza, Hazu-gun, Aichi Prefecture